Art You Should Know About #4: Helen Frankenthaler

This week, the Colour Field pioneer who broke all the rules

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” 

– Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler is among the most important artists of the mid-twentieth-century.

Influenced by her Abstract Expressionist contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock, Frankenthaler developed her own approach to the style and created the “next big thing” in American art. Her pieces celebrate colour without feeling frivolous. Her best works, such as this one, Sunset Corner, mix form and process and enable colour to step forward as the full subject of the work.

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Frankenthaler was the poster girl for the Colour Field movement – a movement centered on a technique she developed and which took shape in New York in the 1940s and 1950s. You can spot a Colour Field painting by its large, flat fields of solid colour. As an artist, Helen was a fearless woman, unfettered by authority or ideology, and her work is proof that you don’t need to follow the rules to create something incredible.

Lisa Temple, Manager of Curation and Content from Art.co.uk suggests: “This piece works perfectly in the entrance to your flat or home. Display it in a cluster alongside complementary or abstract photography, or hang it alone, framed in a large size for maximum impact.”


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